A proposition seeking to label genetically modified foods will be on the November ballot in Colorado after supporters of the Right to Know Colorado initiative submitted nearly 125,000 valid signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State.
Proposition 105 exceeded the 86,105 required signatures on the Aug. 4 deadline by nearly 40,000 to qualify for the statewide ballot. Right to Know Colorado, which backed the measure, said that it submitted 171,370 signatures and had a 73% validity rate.
The proposed statute would require that foods containing ingredients made from genetically modified crops be labeled "Produced With Genetic Engineering", starting on July 1, 2016. Foods from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs are exempt, as are unpackaged foods for immediate consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals and medically prescribed foods.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment would be responsible for regulating the labeling under the proposed statue.
"This historic achievement is only possible because of the thousands of hours volunteers contributed to this effort," said Right to Know Colorado campaign Chair Larry Cooper. “We had more than 500 people collect signatures throughout the state with signatures from every county in the state. The people of Colorado made this happen."
To date, more than 60 bills have been introduced in over 20 states to require GMO labeling or prohibit genetically engineered foods. Vermont, Connecticut and Maine all require labeling, and Oregon voters will decide whether to require it this fall.
But legislation introduced in April by congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) would block mandatory state-level efforts by instead establishing a federal labeling standard for genetically engineered ingredients. The so-called Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR4432) would give sole authority to the FDA to require mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering if they are ever found to be unsafe.
In 2013, federal GMO labeling companion bills were introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio.